Week 11 DraftKings Tournament Pivots

Devonta Freeman is a logical DraftKings play this week, but Marshawn Lynch makes for the perfect pivot.

In daily fantasy football tournaments, you don't want to use the same guys everyone else is playing. You need to be different. You need to be contrarian.

Throwing chalk plays into a tournament lineup can sometimes work, but it's also important to know which players to pivot to, or use instead of the popular, chalky option. Let's take a look at the Week 5 slate with a list of pivot options.


Chalk: Cam Newton $8,600 vs Washington Redskins

I’ll give credit where credit is due: Newton now has multiple touchdowns in eight straight games, but his six rushing touchdowns over that span is not sustainable -- only twice has Newton run for more than six touchdowns in his career (2011 and 2012). And, believe it or not, Jonathan Stewart has actually been handling the ball a lot in the red zone -- since their bye Week 5, J-Stew has seen 25 red zone looks, including 7 this past weekend. Eventually, Stewart is going to regress to the mean and start converting on more of those opportunities, which leaves Cam empty handed.

Pivot: Philip Rivers $8,300 vs Kansas City Chiefs

Rivers has lost Keenan Allen for the season, and his three other main targets (Antonio Gates, Ladarius Green and Malcom Floyd) all are listed as questionable. And the matchup is not the best – the Chiefs are ranked 10th against the pass per Net Expected Points (NEP) metric. But I still have faith.

Rivers is playing at home where he’s seen an uptick in pass attempts (11.9% increase), completions (11.1%), and passing yards (8.0%) this year. If last game taught us anything, it’s that the Chargers are reluctant to rely on their running game (just 17 carries combined between Danny Woodhead and Melvin Gordon). Marcus Peters has made some big plays this season, but his aggressiveness has also caused him to allow some big plays as well. With Vegas projecting Kansas City as three-point favorites, we could see even more pass attempts from Rivers, who steps into Week 11 with the second most passing yards in the league (Tom Brady).

Running Back

Chalk: Devonta Freeman $9,100 vs Indianapolis Colts

After amassing just 43 rushing yards in his first two games in a backup role behind Tevin Coleman, Freeman's rattled off six straight weeks of 149 or more total yards. Yes, you read that correctly -- 149 total yards in six straight games. He’s an elite back getting an insane amount of work this season. It’s always tough to fade Devonta, and proceed at your own risk, but there's a play with the same upside and at much lower ownership.

Pivot: Marshawn Lynch $8,100 vs San Francisco 49ers

The Seahawks are favored by almost two touchdowns at home against a pitiful San Francisco 49ers team that ranks 28th against the rush, according to NEP. Marshawn strives at home. In fact, over the past two seasons, he’s almost five times more likely to score a rushing touchdown at home than on the road (1.18 rushing touchdown average at home, 0.25 on the road). He’s got game script in his favor, against a porous defense in one of the largest home/road splits of any player. Oh, and he’s projected to be low owned in tournaments.

Wide Receiver

Chalk: Amari Cooper $6,800 at Detroit Lions

Cooper is anything but a lock this weekend. He’s been held under 50 passing yards in three of his last six games, and has just three touchdowns over that span. Not exactly the numbers you’d expect from someone that folks are relying on this week.

While you can attack the Lions through the air -- our 30th-ranked pass defense according to NEP -- they're also vulnerable to the run as well. This season, they have allowed multiple rushing touchdowns or 100-plus rushing yards to a running back in six out of nine games. With a high number of targets going to Michael Crabtree (leads the team with 85), and this potentially being a big Latavius Murray game, Cooper make for an easy fade.

Pivot: Calvin Johnson $7,200 vs Oakland Raiders

Listen, it’s not like you need to be worried about the Lions running the ball and taking opportunities away from Megatron, and the Raiders do make for a plus matchup (31st ranked pass defense according to NEP). Yes, Matthew Stafford has looked bad this season, but you can do much worse than rostering Calvin, at his lowest salary of the season, in a plus matchup, in a game that Vegas predicts should be high scoring (48.5 over/under) and also close (currently an even line).

Tight End

Chalk: Jordan Reed $4,900 at Carolina Panthers 

People see Jordan Reed’s name and instantly look to him because of recency bias -- it’s hard to ignore his five touchdowns over the past three games. But, after seeing 38.8% of the red zone looks in Weeks 7 and 9 (they had a bye Week 8), Reed saw his red zone usage drop to just 23.1% last week, putting him much closer to his season long average of 15.8%. His seven red zone looks over the past three games more than doubled his season long total prior to that stretch (5).

Red zone usage is obviously a strong indicator for touchdowns, but with a Vegas implied total of just 18.25, we shouldn’t expect the high scoring affairs we’ve seen in recent weeks against the Saints, Patriots and Buccaneers to carry over to Week 11.

Pivot: Eric Ebron $3,500 vs Oakland Raiders 

There may not be much of an ownership drop off from Reed to Ebron here, and maybe I’m favoring the Lions offense a little too much, but Ebron is one of my favorite tight end plays of the week.

At just $3,500, he needs just 17.5 DraftKings points to reach tournament value. This means we should be looking for a stat line something like 5 receptions for 65 receiving yards and a touchdown. This seems very feasible against a Raiders linebacking corp that has allowed a touchdown to a tight end in eight out of nine games this season and a total of 10 overall.

And Ebron has been a fixture in this Lions passing attack. He has at least 5 targets in every game that he has played at least 35% of the snaps (he left Week 4 with an injury). And he’s been hauling in his opportunities with an amazing four or more receptions in all but one game that he’s started and finished.